Hopkins Marine Station Student Paper

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(full paper is archived in the Miller Library)

Title: Diversity, abundance, and behavior of epizoic limpets on Tegula funebralis
Student Author(s): Struik, Edith J.
Faculty Advisor(s): Baxter, Chuck
Pages: 48
Location: Final Papers Biology 175H
Date: June 1991
Abstract: An ecological survey noted nine species of limpets on Tegula funebralis. The only adult limpet found on this host was Lottia asmi which is the most abundant of any epizoic gastropod in three different habitats at Pacific Grove, California. Other juvenile, commensal limpets may temporarily use the microhabitat of T. funebralis as protection against desiccation until their shell size is big enough to withstand the stress on rock surfaces. T. funebralis also offers small limpets some protection against heavy wave action. L. asmi was observed to be significantly larger in the wave exposed habitat. Possibly fewer predators of L. asmi allow for greater survivability in this area or the increased amount of food on T. funebralis' shell permits faster growth. L. asmi did occur on Pagurus, although not as frequently as on Tegula. The lack of correlation found in this study between commensal and host size suggests that transfers occur before food limitation. Laboratory observations of the movement of L. asmi revealed that the mean number of days this limpet remains on a snail or hermit crab is less than one. Transfers between substrates by L. asmi occured most often during high tide and the number of transfers during the day was higher than at night.